As part of efforts to
reduce plastic in the supply chain, M&S is trialling its first plastic-free
loose fruit and vegetable department at its Tolworth store.
As well as ditching the
packaging, M&S has introduced trained greengrocers, who will be on hand to
offer customers valuable advice as they select from two aisles of fruit and
vegetables free of plastic packaging. The range not only includes hard fruit and
veg like potatoes and bananas, but also more perishable items such as soft
fruits and berries, which will be retailed in compostable punnets, and best
before date labels have been removed.
Louise Nicholls, Head of
Food Sustainability, said, “We’re proud to launch a series of market-leading
initiatives to help our customers take home less plastic. “Our trial at
Tolworth is an important milestone in our plastic reduction journey and
bringing back the traditional greengrocer will play a key part in educating our
customers. Our plan is to create long-term impact in the future using tangible
insights from the Tolworth store trial.”
M&S has committed to
launching additional lines of loose produce and more sustainable alternatives
to plastic in every UK store, which could save 580 tonnes of plastic waste over
two years alone. The plan will also involve replacing plastic produce bags with
paper ones and phasing out plastic barcode stickers in favour of eco-friendly
alternatives. M&S Senior Packaging Technologist Kevin Vyse spoke at the
recent UK Brassica & Leafy Salad Conference which will be reported in the
March issue of The
According to reports, Marks and Spencer is to begin donating surplus food to charity. It will begin with 150 stores in December and plans to roll the scheme out to all of its stores early next year.
Following similar initiatives by Tesco and Sainsbury’s, M&S conducted a series of trials and pilots in 45 stores aimed at finding the most effective way of redistributing surplus food to ensure it is put to the best possible use.
Head of Responsible Sourcing Louise Nicholls said; “This is the first nationwide redistribution scheme to provide an innovative, practical solution to surplus food redistribution by building local connections, enabling all our stores to link with local food projects and help support their communities.” The products to be donated include ‘fruit, vegetables, bread, cakes and groceries [that are]nearing their expiry date.’
According to the Waste Resources Action Programme (WRAP), UK supermarkets waste up to 200,000 tonnes of food a year. M&S will donate the food via Neighbourly, a social enterprise scheme which connects businesses with community projects. Neighbourly founder Nick Davies commented, “Putting food resources to the best possible use is a huge aspect of creating a sustainable planet.” Food charities keen to participate in the scheme can register online from Monday 12th October.
According to newspaper reports, Marks and Spencer could be looking to offer customers the chance to ‘pick their own’ strawberries after unveiling a trial at its flagship Marble Arch store in London just in time for Wimbledon.
In fact the installation was created by Bompas and Parr who worked with British Summer Fruits on an installation entitled ‘Fruit Fantasia’, which was in place for just a few days.
The proposed multi-sensory environment takes the principals of fashion retailing and brings it to the food environment, which is typically a purely functional space that has not undergone as much innovation as other retail streams. The concept is to bring the scents, tastes and sounds of a strawberry field to the shopping aisle.
Andy Mitchell, M&S Strawberry Expert said, “The start of the British strawberry season is one of the highlights of the summer calendar and it’s great to see that this very clever installation will really bring to life the many delicious qualities of our strawberries. We hope our customers enjoy it and are looking forward to seeing their reaction.”
Research conducted by The University of London revealed that the scent of strawberries can evoke feelings of summer and nostalgia and shoppers, will be able to taste and smell the strawberries as soon as they enter, through a berry mist that will emerge around the store.
Laurence Olins, Chairman of British Summer Fruits, added, “The soft fruit industry is at the forefront of innovation–plant breeders raise tens of thousands of seedlings each year and only about one per cent go forward for further trialling.”